THE ANGRY OLD MAN
RELIGION IN SCHOOLS
A NEW APPROACH FOR TEACHING RELIGION IN SCHOOLS.
Instead of pushing for bible studies in schools, or forcing science teachers to teach creation as a science we should be teaching studies in comparative religion. This so that the young can get a balanced and true picture of what religion is. Not what is correct or which one is the true religion, but an understanding what each religion teaches. Show them how and why various religions believe as they do.
In conjunction with this comparative religion class there should be a class on ethics. Show why we act in a certain way, where our ethics come from, why they have lasted over the years and how they affect each of us. Help them to understand the role religion plays in our ethical makeup. When they look at the reasons behind our laws and traditions, many of the traits they now laugh at in others, become reasonable, not laughable.
A proper presentation of these two subjects would increase our understanding of other religions and cultures and help instill a respect for other beliefs. Respect for others is a major requirement for earning respect for yourself. A side effect may just be a decline in wars, as most wars are fought over religious differences.
But a major stumbling block to such an understanding or to showing the young students an unbiased picture is the "rightness" of many religions. They believe that to accept any other religions beliefs as being possible will be seen as a weakness in their own concept of "absolute rightness" in their own particular belief.
Then we have the fundamentalist faction of many religions. To the fundamentalist, Christian or otherwise, any thing that is not in their beliefs is wrong. There is no grounds for discussion or acceptance. It's there way or no way. That's why that throughout man's history, someplace in the world is constantly at war and fighting is going on over this difference in what is God's word.
A FEW OF MY PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS
1. Lawyers and Preachers are the two most useless and unnecessary professions on the face of the earth. Both are self-sustaining, thrive on the pain and hardship of others which, more often than not, are induced by others in those two professions.
2. I don't know if it's learnt or in our genes, but we don't want to hear the truth if it doesn't make us feel good. Ronald Reagan's popularity proved this.
3. When someone claims they talked to God, we look at them in awe, accept it, praise them and sometimes worship them. Let someone claim they saw a UFO and we make fun of them and call them liars.
4. It seems to me to be very small minded and self-centered to claim that we are the only beings in the whole universe or that we are special. Earth is a small body circling a minor star on the fringe of an ordinary galaxy.
5. The very people who reject and ridicule reports of UFO's, etc. are often the very ones who will accept and praise a TV preacher who proclaims God spoke to him.
6. Understanding each other, let alone those of another culture or language, becomes difficult because of the sloppy way we use languages. Our use of slang, or regional habits of speech can causes difficulties. Our perceptions of what a word means can cause difficulties. For example, we often say we know something when we should say we believe, we feel, we think, we assume, we accept.
7. To follow the true course of rightness one has to be willing to be wrong. Those who are the most certain of their rightness have the highest probability of being wrong.
There are hundreds of books and thousands of Internet sites with information on religion, both in general and specific. It's very easy to become over- whelmed with the sheer volume of material. It's also very hard to separate the good from the bad. One thing that I'm sure of, if the material is written or supported by a particular religion or faction of a religion, then the material will be bias in favor of that religion or faction. It may offer good information, but to get a balanced and true perspective of the subject, read other books and material. You will be surprised how the same thing can be said by opposing sides with totally different results.
One book I found helpful was "HOW THE GREAT RELIGIONS BEGAN" by Joseph Gaer. Others that have influenced me are:
SCIENCE AND CREATIONISM by Ashley Montagu
BEGINNINGS by Isaac Asimov
I. ASIMOV: A MEMOIR by Isaac Asimov
THE SOURCE by Art Bell & Brad Steiger
I am also an avid reader of science fiction. I like science fiction, not only because I enjoy the stories and they are entertaining, but they ask the same questions I do, WHAT IF...!